Some common issues faced by most people when it comes to getting in shape are the seemingly never-ending demands from work, stress, a lack of time, and, let’s admit it: overall laziness. Rez has had his fair share of said struggles which almost pushed him to the point of obesity.
He tried many diet plans, but they were all short-lived. “You get some short-term results, but they are not sustainable,” Rez told Vulcan Post. “Going to the gym, the problem was, I wasn’t sure which machine to use, what programmes to follow, and wasn’t sure if what I was doing was going to cause any long-term injuries.”
It was then he decided to find a personal trainer which proved to be difficult; Google would suggest the same top influencers every time. Realising it was a hurdle most Malaysians faced too, he launched a marketplace to link personal trainers with trainees easily, known as SparkFit.
Trainers, meet your trainees
Prior to SparkFit, there was no simple way for Malaysians to view certified personal trainers in their area, compare their pricings and packages, and find methods to get in touch with them.
Rez was always met with suggestions for big commercial gyms, while his co-founder, Peter, would come across trainers on Instagram but couldn’t vet their prices or services. Often, trainers on social media would claim their prices were the best and would only list positive customer reviews.
Trainers were also finding it difficult to reach clients despite their marketing efforts. “Some had burnt hundreds or thousands of Ringgit on Facebook and didn’t get the results they wanted,” the team shared.
After kickstarting SparkFit in November 2020, aspiring trainees now have the access to a large number of trainers on the platform. Their details like fitness expertise, training locations, prices, packages, certificates, images, videos, contact info, etc. can all be found in their profiles.
Interested trainees can purchase a package and arrange for a training session at their convenience. Trainees can also determine their training location, whether it’s at their condo’s gym, homes, neighbourhood park, or a pay-per-entry gym near where they stay.
Payment is done through SparkFit’s platform, where fees are only released to a trainer after a completed session. If both parties are unable to reschedule for an unforeseen reason, sessions may be forfeited and refunds are provided to the trainees.
Trainees will also get to rate their trainers after a session is completed based on their quality of service so that other users can make an informed decision.
Keeping it competitive
As SparkFit allows for a free marketplace, personal trainers on the platform can decide how they want to price their packages and training sessions. This also means that if a trainer is overcharging their fees, chances are, less trainees will be interested in their offerings, keeping the market competitive.
Choosing to list quality trainers on SparkFit was also important to Rez and Peter, as not having the right training can cause long-term injuries to trainees. It would also waste a trainee’s time and money, which may demotivate them in achieving their personal fitness goals.
Hence, SparkFit requires their trainers to be certified, and they must upload a copy of their certificates and qualifications. The team will also check a trainer’s social media, personal blog, or website to vet their training activities.
SparkFit monetises through a subscription model with 3 tiers:
- Basic (free in 2021),
- Pro (RM150 per month), and
- Champion (RM350 per month).
Trainers paying for the higher tiers will get more traffic to their profile page.
“How we help with more traffic is in two ways: first, higher tier subscribers will have a higher position in the trainers search results on our site. Second, we will run promotional campaigns on social media for our higher-tier subscribers,” SparkFit’s team explained.
The team chose to make their Basic package free in 2021 as a way to contribute to the fitness community impacted by the pandemic. The closure of the gyms, inter-district travel bans, and MCOs have hit the fitness industry and its trainers badly, impacting their livelihoods.
Trainees can use SparkFit for free, and only have to pay the necessary fees of their training packages to their chosen trainers.
Running to the goal
Thus far, SparkFit has a total of 76 trainers hailing from 8 states in Malaysia, from Selangor (and KL) all the way to Johor, Malacca, and Negeri Sembilan. These trainers have cumulatively sold over 240 sessions in HIIT, yoga, postnatal workouts, circuit training, etc.
While SparkFit doesn’t have an app, Rez noted that their website is mobile friendly.
“We do have plans to make an app in the future, but our initial focus for the app will be more on providing the tools for trainers to manage clients and monitor and track their clients’ progress,” Rez shared.
For now, SparkFit is aiming to target customers who are already working out on their own, but have yet to reach the results they’re happy with. “This group already has the motivation to get fit and need a better solution. Hence, it will be easier to onboard them with personal training so they can get truly meaningful results,” added the co-founders.
The team will then expand their focus on the population who aren’t particularly concerned about their health or fitness by educating them online and through corporate programmes.
In the long term, Rez and Peter hope to expand beyond Malaysia and help link trainees and trainers in other markets such as Singapore and neighbouring SEA countries.
Featured Image Credit: Rez and Peter, co-founders of SparkFit